Friday, October 29, 2010

Aging Thoughts

Typing a note about an 82-year-old woman and also knowing quite a few people in their 80s and some in their 90s still very active and sharp mentally, I am aware that the 70s are the new 60s. Which means 60 is 50, 50 is 40, 40 30, and 20-something almost a teenager. We really are getting younger as we live longer and better quality lives.

Friends who are aging send me the e-mails of “golden years” and various cartoons about old ladies and I often wish there were some way to affect these ideas to where we really could see we are golden as we age and to see the gifts that are part of who we have become. We aren’t quite there yet but there are individuals who are the exception and are amazing people.

Looking At You

The signs are there -
Mileage, passage of time, years of living
Etched in face and neck
And creaking joints.

Fifty? You dont look it!

Fifty is a look?
X(wrinkles + sags + bags) = 50 years of life.
If you have less (wrinkles, sags and bags)
You look terrific!
If you have more -
Well -
They just dont tell you.

But ME - the I -
Inside the look I wear (you see as me)
Sometimes is 2 or 3 or 5 or 10,
Every age I have lived -
And hardly ever 50.

Do you suppose that 90-year-old
They called
Remarkably spry and alert (for her age)
Do you suppose her I
Is only 2 or 5 or 10 sometimes?

Sure would never know it looking at her

Would you!

Published when 50 in To Listen to Flies: There Are Two Possibilities. Publication of a poetry workshop conducted at Rowe Conference Center in Rowe, Massachusetts from May 3 to 5, 1991 led by Andrei Codrescu

Peer Dumb

Surrounded by my peers,
I didn't know I was theirs
Until I looked in the mirror -

The above poem happened when one day I realized the people in my neighborhood and I were actually about the same age – funny how easy it is to see “them” and “us” – when actually we were all “us”.

And then, one day you realize the young clerk waiting on you in the store called you honey and another uses “dear” – and you begin to be aware that something has changed for you – you are getting older!


Somewhere around 50–something,
People begin to talk of aging,
Tricks for looking good,
Working out,
Needing glasses to read,
Aids to hear.
And with passing years
This process increases,
Adding maybe some aches and pains
or serious health problems.

I used to wonder and
not enjoy the conversations
with these seniors -
Who often didn't look the age
They had reached and
seemed to be reaching for
"You don't look that old!"

But when I got there –
I learned the why of this direction personally.
No matter what our "inside" age,
Our bodies change –
Doing that thing called
Getting old!

It's a hell of a shock
to find you couldn't avoid it –
To see your own wrinkles, lines,
to feel your aches and stiffness.

Hey everyone!
I'm still in here –
I'm not the old lady you see!
I'm not your "honey" or "sweetie,"
Underneath the wrapper you see
I'm still me!

Alas, few see me anymore –
They see my lapses, fumbles,
Not quite with it –
Wrinkled wrapper –
I'm not there anywhere
In their field of view.

For them – I'm gone
Before I'm gone.

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